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“Peace on Earth” – Classic MGM Christmas Cartoon

23 Dec

Peace On Earth. Classic Christmas cartoon. MGM 1939. Anti-war.

Here is my early Christmas gift to all of my friends and visitors to this blog. I hope you take the 8 1/2 minutes to watch this extraordinary classic cartoon. It is distinguished as being the only cartoon to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. I would describe this as a post-apocalyptic, dystopian-yet-utopian tale that presents the true meaning of the peace associated with the Christmas story in a manner that makes it still as relevant today as it was when it was first released, back in 1939. Think of it as an extended meditation on the twin themes of the “peaceable kingdom” and “turning swords into plowshares” that figure so prominently in the Book of Isaiah; two themes which serve as a backdrop to the story of the first Christmas found in the Gospels of Mathhew and Luke. What is ironic and sad is that this cartoon’s powerful anti-war message was largely forgotten or ignored just two years later when the USA entered the throes of WWII.

I post this now as we enter into this year’s Christmas season in hope that perhaps the message of this cartoon may engender in some people a reconsideration of the subversive but much needed message of Christmas: of the power of non-violent love that was incarnated in the coming of the Christ child some 2000 years ago. As we reflect on the sorrow, injustice and violence that plague our world right now, it should be clear that we need this cartoon’s simple message of peace and hope even more today.

I would love to have you post your reactions and thoughts here once you enjoy this heartwarming cartoon and ruminate over its message. And you are certainly encouraged to share or re-post this!

Merry Christmas and “Peace to All People of Good Will!!!”

Tom

A Meditation on Time, Eternity and God

12 Dec

A Facebook friend of mine was commenting on the following meme I had copied and shared from a blog run by the Passionists, a Roman Catholic religious order. The quote, which I find to be simple but profound encapsulation of one of the central truths taught by all the great religious traditions, was authored by Bil Keane, the cartoonist who created the much beloved comic strip “Family Circus.” Here it is:

My friend wrote the following comment in response:

I just read, recently in fact, that Einstein didn’t believe in “Now;” he didn’t believe there was a past, present, or future, that all time was “one.” I get dizzy trying to grasp that.

But then, do you know you can never really TOUCH anything? Has to do with those pesky electrons; since they repel one another they keep all your molecules from bumping into each other. What that has to do with “past, present, or future,” well, probably doesn’t. But I thought that was interesting, like Einstein’s disbelief in “Now.”

(I like the sentiment of that quote though.)

I, in turn, responded “…Bro…you are not far from the Kingdom of Heaven, or Enlightenment…Oh, and btw, the notion of the insubstantiality of everything is a fundamental tenet of Buddhism.” My retort was offered only partially in jest.

My friend inspired me to look up a long quote I copied in my journal (way back in June of 1989) from a philosopher and mathematician named Charles Muses during an interview of him I was watching on PBS. He, fact, wrote a book containing an extended meditation on Time. I never did read that book, but I will present here my personal thoughts as I recorded them in my journal, those being inspired directly by what Charles Muses said during the interview.

I wrote:

“Zero is beginning of the ruler. It is not to be equated with nothing. Zero is real, is something. (“Nothing” is just that: no-thing!)

We have been brainwashed by modern logic to equate the two (zero = nothing). Thus we cannot conceive or believe the notion of God existing beyond or at the edge of creation. To transcend creation is to find that the “edge of the ruler” is GOD!”

And finally, I concluded my little meditation with this little aphorism I wrote, again inspired by what Charles Muses had said:

“Be present to this moment in Time, for it cradles the entire universe.

As I look back, I can see that this processing of what I head heard in this interview represented for me a kind of epiphany, a watershed moment, one in which my attempt to finally free myself from the shackles of Western dualism was coming to full flower. I was on the verge then of forging a mature synthesis (or perhaps a better word would be reconciliation) of the western metaphysics that had grounded my Christian worldview and theology with that of the metaphysics of the Oriental mindset, especially as found within the Buddhist traditions. This attempt to reconcile the two was a philosophical and spiritual pursuit that occupied me greatly over the next two decades, and to some degree even up to the present.

If you have followed my blog for sometime, you may recognize many of these same themes — of Time, eternity, God, and being mindfully present to the moment — often emerge in many of the essays and poems I have posted here since I first began this blog a couple of years ago. And you can be assured that I will continue to flesh these thoughts out more in the future!

As always, your thoughts, questions and comments are welcome and encouraged.

New Series of Advent Video Reflections

5 Dec

I’d like to pass on this example from a new series of Advent video reflections that feature the beautiful artwork of Brother Mickey McGrath. The promise is that a new reflection will be posted each day throughout the Advent season. The focus of this particular video is his painting “The Annunciation.” Enjoy, be inspired, and you are certainly encouraged to share this!

“Autumn Leaves Do Not Shiver” (new original poem)

11 Nov

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“Autumn Leaves Do Not Shiver”

Autumn leaves do not shiver when they fall
but leap like little lads of yesteryear
who, when boisterously barrelling into a pond like tiny cannonballs,
and making their splash into water lilies,
never gave a damn about how far it is to the bottom.
For them, “tis the leap that counts,” after all!

No — these leaves do not shiver when they fall:
To fall is their call, after all!

How else are leaves to parade their fiery blaze of color,
that treasure hidden long before
under the zesty, green garments of Spring?

Ah — but it is WE who shiver —
(or rather, are SHAKEN out of complicity)
as we watch (this spectacle) and wonder IF —
when our time comes to leap:
will we likewise loosen our grip
that we might free fall under Winter’s magic spell
and finally promenade — with one last hurrah —
our own triumphant splash of exultant color?

(c) Thomas C. Webber 11/11/2013

“The Great I AM” (a brief poem)

25 Oct

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The great I Am
Is the ISNESS
Of all that is.

Each IS
As He IS

Though we
Might not
See IT
Such as
It IS.

(c) Thomas C. Webber 4/16/2013

“Winter Thoughts” (A poem)

7 Feb

“Winter Thoughts”

Thoughts melt like feelings
One by one
Like sifted-flour snowflakes
Dissolved by the warm ground
Of Earth Mother
Who receives all prodigal children
Back in her arms
Never questioning from whence they came.

Yes, I melt in Mother’s arms
(Bedecked as she is
In star-studded indigo and glistening gold)
Absent not only of feelings
But all thought as well.

(c) Thomas C. Webber 2/7/2013

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Tiny Truffles of Heaven

3 Jan

Tiny truffles of heaven
appear each moment, wrapped
like shiny, tin-foiled presents

shyly awaiting our tug
at the ribbon of time.

(c) Thomas C. Webber 1/2/2013

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